SYDNEY, 14 November - Sydney Blue Sox pitcher Matt Williams has agreed to shave off his signature beard if the Blue Sox can sell out their game on Saturday 24 November against the two-time defending champion Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat at Blacktown International Sportspark.
If the game sells out, Williams has agreed shave off all the red hair that encompasses his face immediately following the game in front of the entire crowd.
"I first started growing the beard in September 2011, and just never wanted to shave once I started," Williams said. "I only started growing the beard out of pure laziness; I really didn't want to shave and a year-plus later it's a pretty awesome beard."
In return for shaving his red locks, Williams has asked for Blue Sox fans to not only fill the stadium, but to also "Blue-Out" the ballpark, making sure to war anything and everything blue to the game that night.
"It's a big series for us," Williams said. "Perth is obviously the team everybody guns for and we need support for that whole series. It's the only time we host Perth this season and we want to show we're now the team to beat in the league."
Williams has served as the Blue Sox closing pitcher this season, pitching in three games, registering two saves in the season's first two games, seven strikeouts and no earned runs so far. The highlight of the season for Williams was when he came in to pitch against the Brisbane Bandits and struck out five batters over two innings to hold the score at 1-1. Williams is currently second all-time in saves for the Blue Sox behind Dae-Sung Koo.
When Williams takes the mound, the Blue Sox twitter account has begun to use the hashtag #FearTheBeard. While the facial hair has become a big part of Williams, he's hoping to see that hashtag become irrelevant.
"Would I miss the beard a little? I think so," Williams said. "But to see the entire stadium full of blue shirts for a game like that it'd be totally worth it."
The Williams promotion is one of many the Blue Sox will hold in their Perth series, beginning on Thursday the 22nd with 2-4-1 Thursday with special offers throughout the park. Also on Saturday is the Blue Sox Charity Day, where fans will have the opportunity to make donations to the Cancer Council, McGrath Foundation, Blue September, Movember and beyondblue. In addition, the series finale is Family Sunday, with kids playing t-ball before the game, and Kids Run the Bases at the conclusion of the contest.
The Blue Sox are off from Australian Baseball League, brought to you by 'Be The Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking' action this week before returning to the field next Thursday, 22 November for the beginning of their four-game series against the Heat.